Many of us in the Philippines have been to some amazing waterfalls, rivers, beaches and mountains — but rarely, if ever, have people seen what these landscapes look like when the mercury drops below zero.
However, a little further north, on another set of islands — Japan — is where lush green forests, valleys and mountains are completely transformed during the winter months.
Green gives way to a white-blue mixture, like something out of Disney’s ‘Frozen’.
The moist air in these parts creates amazing effects such as splash ice when it freezes.
This is where wind coming off the lakes and rivers is splashed up and sprayed into the surroundings which then freezes almost instantly. Splash ice creates some amazing effects, turning trees into chandelier-like structures and rocks into polished ice over mounds that look like giant rough diamonds!
In the valleys nothing is spared from the fierce cold with raging waterfalls turning into giant frozen statues.
Creek beds turn into white shimmering trails and everything seems to become still and trapped in a wintery prison.
If this sounds oppressive, well yes, the cold can feel that way sometimes (but then again so can humidity in the Philippines) but the stunning effects of the ice turn the landscape into a winter wonderland.
And where can you see this?
The answer is in many places across Japan — however the easiest to get to, and perhaps the most spectacular, is in Nikko, which is not far from Tokyo.
With numerous festivals to enjoy during the winter months, and a guaranteed abundance of snow, Nikko is perfect for that quick trip into an icy wonderland — that may only be seen in the Philippines if climate change goes into full crazy mode far into the future!